Thursday, January 29, 2009

Deduct THIS!

It's been a long and busy week at the Roadtrip. And in some ways, it's been one of those weeks. It seemed like every time I started to do one thing, I'd get distracted by something else so nothing got finished. That meant a lot of time catching up on stuff at home instead of at work.

Things were better yesterday though. I spent half the day working at home, then headed into the office for a little while before going to a meeting. So far, so good. The meeting ended early and I headed home instead of going back to the office. Did a little more work at home, then actually cooked dinner. Real food. The oven was even involved. (I know - scary!)

Redneck got here after he got done working - about 8:00. He ate, then I got the kitchen cleaned up, and settled onto the couch to read for a little while before going to bed at a decent hour.

Now, in the sentence above, which statement is FALSE?

If you guessed "going to bed at a decent hour", you would be CORRECT!!!

It was about 10:00 and I was a little sleepy and just thinking that it was definitely time for pajamas and bed. I fiddled around for a few more minutes, yawning and just on verge of getting up and moving when Redneck said:

"Hey, where did you say to do taxes online?"

All I could think was - you're kidding, right? You're not really going to do your taxes RIGHT NOW, are you?

He finally chose a website, then got frustrated over creating a suitably unique password that included both uppercase letters and numbers. I fixed it.

Then he didn't have Skaterboy's social security number. He had to get up, parking the laptop in my lap while he went to get his wallet.

Now, bear in mind - the website gave a list of documents that you would need in order to complete your taxes. He read the list. I double-checked to make sure he knew where his 2007 tax form was because he would need it for the AGI number.

A few minutes later, he shoved the computer back at me while he went to retrieve his W-2s from the bedroom.

I know what you're thinking, Patient Reader. "Roadchick, why didn't you just get up and go to bed?" And if you are, you either: a) have your taxes done by a professional, or b) have never watched a man do taxes before, or c) are a man.

I knew there was going to be frustration going on. This is the first year that Redneck was going to do his own taxes instead of paying a service a lot of money to essentially fill out the form that's available for free online. He doesn't have any tricky tax situations that would require professional intervention.

I took over the process when the W-2s were retrieved. I added those in, moved on, went through deductions and all the other stuff. Clickity, clickity, clickity. No big deal - I've been doing my own taxes for years.

Now it's time to actually efile. I need the AGI. Redneck has been retrieving paperwork like an archivist at the Smithsonian and apparently his job is wearing thin. I asked him for his 2007 tax form to verify his exemptions and get the AGI.

There was a heavy sigh from his end of the couch and he hauled himself up again, went out to his truck and came back in with an envelope. He pulled out a stack of paper and started going through it page by page. I don't know what he was looking for, because I hadn't told him what I was looking for. This went on for a few minutes before I finally asked him to just give me the packet.

Him: Wait a minute.
Me: It's almost midnight. I have to get up at 5:00. Give me the packet so I can get this finished.
Him, offended now: Go to bed. I'll do this.
Me: You don't even know why I want that and YOU'RE going to do this. Give me the packet.
Him: Well, you're in a bad mood.

You'll be proud to know that I did not kill him. He handed over the packet and a few minutes later, everything was finished and submitted and accepted and all that good stuff.

I started to tell him that in a day or two, he'll have to go back to the place online where the taxes were done and make sure that all was good. He would need his passwords. That was when he wandered off.

Since he was just through the doorway in the kitchen, I kept talking. (I know. Don't even say it.) Then he wandered into the dining room and I knew it was hopeless. I waited for him to come back and started over. He looked at me like I was speaking in tongues. None of it was getting through. Passwords? What passwords? Taxes? Huh?

I gave up and wrote down his username and passwords then went to bed. I'm a little tired this morning. I didn't sleep well. He, on the other hand, slept like a baby, secure in the knowledge that his taxes are done for the year and his refund will be on the way shortly.

All I can say is - he better spend it on me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

And The Award Goes To. . . Roadchick!

***This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, Brilliant.

This award was given to me by Sunshine Jones! Bless her heart, she wants to write just like me when she grows up. Talk about bad influences and hanging out behind the gym, smoking cigarettes!!! Seriously though, I am honored that she enjoys the Roadtrip. It means a lot to know that people are reading and having a reaction to what I've posted.

The rules:

When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to said person so everyone knows he or she is real.

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have 7 friends. Show the 7 random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Weblog.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!

Ten Honest Things:
1. I am seriously OCD - not in the repeated handwashing way, but in the attention to detail and a near photographic memory.
2. Must. Have. Coffee. In. The. Morning. Do not speak until the coffee consumption has begun.
3. I'm a dedicated list-maker. I have a notebook full of lists. Things to do, things to read, things to buy.
4. I don't like people to watch me eating a snack. A meal is ok, but snacks seem shameful somehow.
5. I never in a million years imagined that this is where my life would take me. I imagined fame, for some reason. For what, I don't know.
6. I'd rather be at home than almost anywhere in the world.
7. I get very annoyed when people don't put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
8. I sing along with the radio or a CD while driving in the car. I ignore the funny looks I get.
9. The older I get, the less I care what people think about me. (See #8)
10. It's hard to come up with 10 honest things. Maybe I'm boring. Or secretive.


And. . . The Proximity Award was given to me by Autrice.

Again, I am very honored. I've been reading Autrice for years and her posts never fail to entertain or make me think. She can be wickedly funny but is not afraid to write posts that are touching and heart-felt. I admire that. I don't know that I'm brave enough to do that. If I can't be funny, I stay silent, for the most part.

Blogs who receive this award are 'exceedingly charming'. This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

“Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award. According to the rules, you must mention eight more bloggers with whom you wish to share this.

And now, the nominees (who are being nominated for both awards because they deserve them so you should definitely check them out) in no particular order:

*Knit Witch
*Ann & Kay

I wanted to get those awards posted and do my nominations but a regular post is going to have to wait. I've got a ton of stuff to finish up for work and the end of the month is looming.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'm Going In

In a minute, I'm going to get up from my very comfortable spot on the couch, get dressed in something WARM, and go out to brave my garage.


Because tomorrow, the garage door guys are coming to replace the dreaded torsion spring.

Actually, my garage isn't too bad, but it's not too good, either. I've been getting ready for a helluva yard sale, and as I've gone through stuff, it's been packed into boxes and dumped in the garage. The boxes line one wall pretty completely and they are not the neat, tidy stack of boxes that I started out with, mainly because I suspect Rockboy has been rummaging to see what was in them.

Because they block one wall, I'm also a little concerned that the garage door guys may not be able to get to everything they need to since there's a lot of S P R E A D at the base of the pile.

And, on that side wall, there is a regular door to the outside. It's blocked by boxes and piles of crap. But, if it rains really hard and the wind is howling, water comes through the bottom of that door and makes a huge mess and gets boxes wet, etc.

So, I've re-thought the whole thing and am going to re-arrange everything and tidy it up.

I really didn't worry too much about it because the car has always fit in there, but now seems to be the time to get a handle on this mess.

It's been an interesting month, home-repair-wise.

Let's review the list:
* Broken torsion spring on the garage door
* Washing machine making funny noise (diagnosed by the way - I need a new agitator)
* Broken water supply line on the fridge, leaking water trashing hardwood floor

***NEW ADDITION: When I came home on Thursday night (the COLDEST night of the year), I thought, hey, it's a little chilly in here, I'm going to turn up the heat just a little. When I nudged the thermostat up, nothing happened. I kept nudging. Nothing kept happening. Then I looked at the thermometer, to see what the temperature actually was.

It was about 56 degrees in the house.

No wonder it was a little chilly. And the heat wouldn't kick on.

I flipped the breaker in the garage (which meant scaling a pile of boxes - part of the inspiration to DO something about that flea market out there).

It didn't help.


I went next door to my neighbor's house, since I had seen him rummaging around in HIS garage.

He said he'd look at it and see if he could figure out what was going on. He came. He looked. He offered to call a friend with a HVAC business. I told him to call. It was too damn cold to fool around.

The man finally came, clomped upstairs to the attic, fiddled around for a few minutes, pulled out some metal stick-looking thing, wiped it off, scraped it with his knife, wiped it off again, and stuck it back in.

The verdict: Dirty flame sensor.

The cost: $90.00

A value, since I was FREEZING, but wow - $90.00

I asked about the price. He said that it's for the service call and first hour of service, new parts not included.

I mentioned that he hadn't been here an hour yet and asked him to vacuum the living room.

He politely declined, took his check, and left.

(That's probably best, since he was young and reasonably cute, because the next thing I was going to say was, "For $90.00, you better get up on that coffee table and dance.")

I called my neighbors to let them know we had heat again. This time I was talking to the wife. She was glad the heat was running and said that when she came home from the grocery store, she pushed the garage door opener remote (not realizing that hubby was in the garage with the door already up) and the door started to go down, then gathered speed and slammed shut. Now it wouldn't go up again.

A little lightbulb went off.

I told her how to check it: pull the emergency release cord. If the door feels like it weighs 400 pounds (and it does) and you can't move it, your torsion spring has broken.


But, my neighbor came up with a creative solution. She publishes a local home magazine that you can pick up for free all over town. She sells a LOT of advertising.

She called up a garage door company and offered to trade them ad space in exchange for fixing the garage doors.

Hers AND mine.

For free.

As in, no money.

Since I diagnosed the problem.

And, in exchange, I owe them a dinner (home-cooked) and the use of Rockboy as a slave.

Sounds like a deal to me.

I just haven't mentioned it to Rockboy yet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Adventures in Home Ownership

It all started a couple of weeks ago.

Redneck and I came back from running errands and he pushed the garage door opener button. The door went up about 8 inches, then stopped.

He did this a couple of times before I decided that he didn't know what he was doing and took the remote away from him. Amazingly, it did not work any better for me.

I went in through the front door and looked into the garage. What I saw was the cables from the garage door draped over the garbage cans in graceful coils. What Redneck saw was the torsion spring over the garage door had snapped. Then I saw dollar signs dancing in front of my eyes from how much it was going to cost to get that fixed.

Between the two of us, we heaved the garage door up (they weigh about 400 pounds for a two-car garage door) and he stood there like a statue while I backed my car out.

It went on the list. Fix garage door.

On Friday evening, I decided to get some laundry done before Redneck came over after work. I threw everything in and wandered off to do something else. A few minutes later, I tuned back into the washer because it was making a funny noise. Crap. It was still working, but didn't sound right.

It was added to my mental list while the wet stuff went into the dryer.

Redneck came in a little while later and we left to get something to eat. When we came back, I was walking through the kitchen and saw a puddle of water on the hardwood floor. I immediately knew what had happened. I screeched and grabbed towels and dropped them on the floor.

Redneck came running and saw the problem too.

The water supply that feeds the ice maker and water-in-the-door on the fridge had broken.


We pulled the fridge away from the wall and started mopping up the mess. He turned the water off at the wall and disconnected everything so it wouldn't keep dripping on the floor. We mopped some more. We found Speedbump's 4367 scrunchies that keep disappearing. (She LOVES to play with them, especially fetch, if you shoot it for her.)

After all the water was off the floor, we took a good look at it. Not good.

The next day, Redneck headed to Lowe's to get copper line to replace the broken plastic line. I headed for the phone to call the floor dude.

The floor dude said that he would come over on Tuesday and look at the floor. I called my dad and he said he would meet the floor dude here and see what he had to say.

The floor dude was here yesterday and said that he'd give it about three months because sometimes the flooring will dry out and the floor will go back to the way it was supposed to be. The polyurethane was not stripped off, so if the floor would cooperate, it might be ok if we did nothing. If it's not ok in three months, then we'd look at replacing the warped sections. Call your insurance company and let them know that you might have a claim in three months.

Dad and floor dude finished up and headed out. Dad locked the front door behind himself. Then he turned around and locked the deadbolt. (Dad's a big believer in security and locking locks that were meant to be locked. Me, not so much. I'm lazy and usually have to pee in a hurry when I get home so I just lock the doorknob.)

I got home later than usual last night so it was dark. It was also freezing cold. And I had to pee.

I knew that the damn deadbolt would be locked, so I unlocked the doorknob and then spent precious minutes playing hunt-and-poke with the key, trying to get it into the deadbolt. I finally got the key in there and tried to turn it. Nothing. Ok, maybe it goes the other way. It turned, but did not unlock the deadbolt.

By now, I'm whimpering with cold and pee, and dropped my bags and purse on the front porch to seriously wrestle with the stupid key. It. Would. Not. Turn.

I left everything on the porch and headed for the back door, praying that I had not locked the screen door, but thinking I probably had.

I had.

Thinking fast, I headed down the steps from the deck, dragging one of the patio chairs with me.

Rockboy is not known for his diligence in home security and I was hoping this was one of those times. Oh PLEASE let his window be unlocked.

I shoved the chair up against the house and climbed up, praying the whole time: for the window to be open, to not pee my pants, to not break my body when I launched through the window. . .

It was unlocked.

I pushed the window up, chased Speedbump away from the open window and dropped into the room with the grace of a drunk koala bear. Slammed the window closed and ran as fast as I could with my legs pressed together for the bathroom.

It was close, but I made it.

I tried to unlock the deadbolt from inside with my key (it's keyed on both sides because there is a huge glass window in the door although I don't know what the difference is - if you break the window, why would you need to unlock the door? Just step in through the window.) The key still would not turn.

I gave up and went out through the back door, around the house, and hauled all my crap in from the front porch and driveway.

I tried the lock again. It opened (unwillingly) this time.

I've gotta get that garage door fixed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

No, Really

Yes, Patient Reader, I do know that it is January and the holidays have been over for a little while.

But, see, I forgot to tell y'all this, what with being so outraged about Redneck's "your roots are showing" comment.

We unwrap our presents to each other on Christmas Eve. Rockboy and Skaterboy are there as well.

Redneck, bless his heart, has gotten me exactly what I wanted and had been dropping very obvious hints for during the past 5 weeks. He got me a Nintendo DS. He got me a little carrying case. He got me games. He did good.

I was sloooowly unwrapping the DS, stretching it out, because present-opening time never lasts long enough. (I personally think it should last for HOURS.)

I finally get the paper off and I'm smiling and saying thank you. I'm reaching for the next package . . . and then it happens.

Skaterboy is watching since he's ripped through his pile of loot in 3.2 seconds.

He looks up at me and says, "Daddy was playing with that the other day."

At this point, Redneck gets a guilty look on his face.

Skaterboy continues, "He got it out from under the tree, unwrapped it, unwrapped one of the games, opened it, played with it for a really long time, then put that stuff back into the boxes and re-wrapped them and stuck them back under the tree."

Me: stunned silence.

Redneck: You would never have known that if Skaterboy hadn't told you.

Me: Um, yes I would have. The game would be out of its shrinkwrap.

Redneck: You wouldn't have noticed that.

Later on, it's finally a little quiet and I can play with my new toy. I stick the unwrapped game in and turn it on. My name came up as the player.

I leaned over and showed it to Redneck.

"I may not have noticed that the game wasn't shrinkwrapped, but I think I would've noticed that apparently, my DS is psychic and knows it's me."

"At least I put YOUR name in and not mine."

"You're right. That totally makes it ok."

(And actually, it was ok, but still very funny. Especially since he got caught.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Music Wars

For Christmas, I bought Skaterboy an iPod Shuffle. He's 10. He's been wanting a MP3 player for ages and I figured that I would get one that I actually know how to operate. (Or that Rockboy knows how to operate.) Skaterboy has another MP3 player that his grandma found at a yard sale but no one could figure out how to get any music onto the stupid thing and the directions were written in Chinese.

Skaterboy opened his gifts here Christmas Eve and was excited about the iPod. Rockboy told him that if he wrote a list of the music he wanted, he would get it set up. Skaterboy wrote a list, left the iPod, and departed for his granny's house.

Late that night, Rockboy came home and looked at the list. He came and woke Redneck and me up, muttering and grumbling.

Who, he wanted to know, had told Skaterboy about this band. Did we know what this band was like? Totally inappropriate. And as for that 'Lollipop' song by Li'l Wayne - were we aware that it was about oral sex? And WAS THIS APPROPRIATE MUSIC FOR A 10 YEAR OLD???

He wandered off again, still grumbling and muttering, but I did hear him say:

"He'll get what I give him. He won't know the difference anyway. And if he doesn't like it, too bad."

Rockboy filled up the iPod shuffle without spending a dime on iTunes - he used his extensive collection of CDs, put a huge variety of music on there, and to be honest, I have heard no complaints from Skaterboy. He, apparently, does not know the difference.

I had to laugh. About 7 years ago, Rockboy and I were having that exact same conversation about bands that I felt he was too young to listen to at that point. We had arguments. We had screaming matches. We had a face to face showdown that would've put old-time gunslingers to shame. He SWORE he would NEVER treat HIS child like that.

All I've got to say is - how ya like me now?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year, New You

This post is for the ladies. Gentlemen, move along. Trust me.

I learned something today. You would think that having reached nearly 40 (good God!) years of age, I would've figured out some basic things by now.

For the past few days, I've been really dissatisfied with how I look. I'm not usually too hung up about those things, but you know how it is when you want a haircut and don't know what you want done, and you really need to touch up your haircolor, but should you keep it the same or change - go lighter or darker or a completely different color. . .

I try to wear make-up on the days that I'm working, especially if I have visits or meetings or if I'm going to work in the office instead of at home. I feel better if I wear make-up. It is a positive thing for me. (No, I don't have to put on full make-up to run to the store to get milk or go to the mailbox. I'm not a junkie.)

Lately, I haven't been happy with my make-up. It's the same stuff I've been using for ages, but somehow, all of a sudden, nothing looked right to me.

I'd go through the whole routine (plus moisturizing - this is new) and then at the end, I'd think: I look like hell.

So, last night, I went to Walgreens for a few odds and ends and wandered the make-up aisle for a good 15 minutes. I came home with a couple new eyeliners and a couple new eyeshadow sets. (Revlon was buy 1, get 1 free!)

This morning, I tried out my new stuff and I was a little happier with how I looked, but still . . . not quite.

This afternoon, I stopped at CVS for odds and ends that I forgot at Walgreens last night and yes, you guessed it, I wound up in the make-up section.

And there, I had a revelation.

Loreal (and every other company out there) has come up with a system to simplify coordinating your make-up. But Loreal had this little card hanging there, next to the foundation. It was printed on clear plastic and you hold it above your wrist and the color that you CAN'T see against your wrist is the foundation color that is best for you. Amazing.

Not only that, but the little card also had three different categories of color: warm, neutral, and cool.

For years (and I mean YEARS) I have been buying warm-toned make-up when I am, in fact, a cool skin tone person.

I bought new foundation and blush and concealer and powder and hurried home with my new treasures. I couldn't stand it - as soon as I got home, I washed my face and started over with the new make-up.

It was amazing. I no longer look like the walking dead or like I need to wash my face because I look vaguely grimy or like someone smacked me in the eye.

RUN (or drive really fast) to CVS or Walgreens or somewhere like that and check out the little card thing and find out if you're using the right colors for you.

If you are - good for you. If you're not - join the club. And if you're a warm and have been buying cool colors, let's trade. I've got a bunch of stuff that I can't use.
ETA: Last night, when Redneck got to my house, we went to Waffle House (because we really know how to get wild with the New Year's festivities. While we were sitting there in the fluorescent glow, Redneck looked over at me and said: You look tired. Your eyes are red.

I'm going to (deep breath) assume that the make-up did not have anything to do with this because I was tired, I haven't been sleeping, and I'm so stressed out I could almost levitate. My eyes were red, from lack of sleep.

This morning, he rolled over and looked at me and reminded me that I need to do something about my roots. Since when did he become my personal beauty nag?

Happy New Year, y'all. I'm off to "do something about those roots".